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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 April 2007, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK
Corporate killing call to parties
Larkhall explosion
The Larkhall blast led to calls for a corporate killing offence
Trades unionists have accused political parties of a lack of action on the issue of corporate killing.

STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith said levels of workplace injury and death continued to be unacceptable.

The organisation has backed a campaign group set up by families who want employers to be held accountable for deaths in work-related incidents.

Families Against Corporate Killers (Fack) is staging its Scottish launch at the STUC annual congress in Glasgow.

Fack was set up in June 2006 and organisers said it has been working with trades unions and the Hazards Campaign Group to campaign for changes in the law.

Why is government so reluctant and failing so miserably in protecting citizens' lives from rogue companies?
Dorothy Wright
Fack campaign member

Dorothy Wright, Fack campaign member, said: "It is a government's primary duty to protect its citizens' lives - that, we were told, was why we went to war in Iraq and why we need to replace Trident.

"Why then is government so reluctant and failing so miserably in protecting citizens' lives from rogue companies who kill 1,700 people every single year in work-related incidents, my son being one of the victims?

"New laws have been announced to enable negligent pet owners to be jailed for ill treating animals, surely humans deserve at least the same respect."

Mr Smith said: "All of Scotland's political parties must address the issue of corporate killing to ensure the guilty are brought to justice and Scots workers are given the protection from death and injury they deserve."

Senior managers

He added that it was "an appalling indictment" of the Scottish justice system that not one individual company or director in Scotland had been convicted of corporate homicide.

Relatives of the Findlay family, who died when a gas explosion destroyed their home in Larkhall in 1999, have backed a change in the law.

Transco was fined a record 15m in August 2005 for breaching health and safety laws but relatives said its apology did not go far enough.

A Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill, which is to apply to Scotland, is expected to be introduced in July.

Under the bill, a corporation will be guilty of the offence of corporate homicide if the way in which any of its activities are managed or organised by its senior managers causes a person's death through a gross breach of a duty of care.

It is estimated that the new law will result in 10 to13 cases a year across the UK and two cases a year in Scotland.

A total of 46 people lost their lives in Scotland during 2005/06 in incidents investigated by the Health and Safety Executive.

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